Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB. Australia/USA, 1996. Paramount Pictures, The Ladd Company, Boam Productions, Robert Evans Company, Village Roadshow Pictures. Screenplay by Jeffrey Boam, based on characters created by Lee Falk. Cinematography by David Burr. Produced by Robert Evans, Alan Ladd Jr.. Music by David Newman. Production Design by Paul Peters. Costume Design by Marlene Stewart. Film Editing by O. Nicholas Brown, Bryan H. Carroll.
A shady New York City gangster (Treat Williams) is looking to gain possession of three skulls with mystical powers that will give him reign over the world. Thankfully, there’s a superhero in the jungles of a fictional island nation who dresses entirely in purple tights (because that’s how you blend in to the trees) and will make sure this doesn’t happen. The release of Dick Tracy in 1990 made adventure movies based on serials and comics from the 30s and 40s seem like a great idea, probably because producers didn’t wait to find out that Dick Tracy was not exactly a juggernaut at the box office. That said, a movie like this and The Shadow starring Alec Baldwin would have tanked regardless of their fan base given how poorly they’re made, this one particularly difficult to sit through thanks to a weak plot that, for the most part, makes no sense, and action sequences that look like filmed stunt rehearsals. Catherine Zeta-Jones has an early supporting role as a sexy villainess, while Billy Zane seems practically catatonic in the lead role, likely because he, like the rest of us, has no idea what’s going on.